Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Sports

June 20, 2014

Outdoors: Kevin Reese — Tactical hunting: Sir, Yes Sir!

Corsicana — My pop once told me I might fit into my dress blues if I used bungee cords; the truth hurts. Looking at me it’s hard to believe I spent eight years in the Marines.

In all honestly, I’m not that bad off… I’m just not that well off; I could stand a few months of nonstop treadmill work.

Beyond reminiscing about my life as a Marine and wishing I still looked the part, I miss many aspects of active duty life – chief among them being camaraderie and my trusty M-16 A2 Service Rifle.

I wasn’t a huge promoter of 62-grain 5.56 Ball NATO ammunition but it seemed to be sufficient. I qualified every year as a rifle expert and later in my second enlistment as a pistol sharpshooter, qualifying with an original Colt 1911 that had been in Marine Corps service for over 75 years and was still a sweet shooter.

Assimilating to civilian life, including civilian shooting was a tall order.

On the firing line, I had difficulty adjusting to traditional hunting rifles. I began looking at AR-15 rifles to regain that comfort level I had with my M-16 A2. As an avid hunter on an extremely tight budget, I recall how badly I wanted to purchase one of the Colt AR-15’s I drooled over as I passed by them in the PX.

It looked exactly like my M-16 but was semi-automatic; it even had the bayonet stud. Perhaps I arrived at my justification before my time but I thought, back in the late 80’s, the AR-15 would make a great hunting rifle.

Certainly, when I was honorably discharged in 1996 and searching for that comfort level I had achieved with my M-16 A2, the AR-15 was my only reasonable option.

Several years ago, good friend and fellow Marine Corps veteran, Chris Reed, Season 2 Winner of History Channel’s Top Shot and partner-owner of Outlaw Sporting Goods, in Greenwood, Mississippi, talked about his desire to do more tactical-styled hunting.

We talked about tactical hunting often and he eventually restored my fervor for AR platform rifles, something I hadn’t experienced in years. I had been too immersed in bowhunting to stop and realize my passion for modern sporting rifles had slowed to a low-crawl. in the end, I can thank Chris for drawing that passion back to the surface once again, this time for the long haul.

While I still bowhunt religiously, I have expanded once again to rifle shooting. My CZ-USA Model 3 .300 WSM is back in the game and more importantly, so is my Smith & Wesson (S&W) MP15T Tactical 5.56.

For long range shooting, my Alpen Apex 6-24x50mm scope is the only way to go and I’ve dialed my S&W MP15T Tactical in at 600 yards; however, here in Texas most shots are much closer and my routine hog hunting is predominantly at night.

That said, my AimPoint H34S Hunter is the perfect lowlight/night optic for hunting and shooting within 300 yards and now rests atop my AR-15. The Alpen Apex scope, trusted for long distances precision accuracy, reclaimed its 600+ yard throne to reign over my CZ-USA . Both are topped with HHA Optimizer Horizon mounts. The Horizon allows me to calibrate for bullet drop out to 600 yards and is incredibly accurate. Once the Horizon is calibrated I simply dial in the range within 5 yards, up to 600 yards out, and put the crosshairs on target; there is no need for hold-over or mil-dots. I’ve also outfitted my S&W MP15T with a Crimson Trace Rail Master CMR-201 Laser and Hawglite Helios H250. The Helios H250 is a rail-mounted lighting system with a remote switch that delivers a blinding red, green or white led light with a remote switch I’ve attached to the handguard. I also ordered a Harris bipod from Brownell’s to round out my tactical hunting rifle and have since set out on a series of new adventures that send memories of days gone by flooding back into my brain-housing-group.

Like many of our Sportsman Elite loyalist, I cut my teeth shooting every can I could as a kid and honed my skills with military training that has carried over well into my hunting success. More importantly, it broadened my perspective on modern sporting rifles like the AR-15 and the diverse ways we can employ them for self-defense as well as recreational shooting and hunting.

I’ve heard arguments on both sides of the fence, from Piers Morgan backers like Willie Nelson who believes semi-automatic AR-15’s should only be used by military and police (I’ve since thrown all my Willie albums in the trash – sorry I just can’t stomach his position on gun ontrol!), to the well-thought-out ideology of our Lone Star State Senator, Ted Cruz, who educated a nearly catatonic diane feinstein on the differences between a semi-automatic rifle that happens to be black and a bolt action rifle… rather the lack of differences between them!

My pop told me “I’ve got to stand for something or I’ll fall for anything” – well, he told me many things and I tried to remember the important ones. This is an issue I do take a stand on. I choose to roll my eyes and the irresponsible of ramblings of people like Morgan, Nelson and feinstein (I never dreamed that I would group Willie with California’s waste of a senate seat – Willie’s always been wasted anyway) while I stand with my brothers-and-sisters-in-arms who undoubtedly would love to venture into the hunting woods with an AR-platform rifle that, while offering only a single-shot firing option, does cater to those creature comforts we identify with through service to our beloved country. It’s also worth mentioning that California senator, Leland Yee, a staunch supporter of gun control even arguing for outright gun bans was arrested and indicted on serious gun-trafficking charges. What’s wrong with that picture?

So, what’s my message to my fellow Navarro County hunters and shooting enthusiasts on AR-15’s and other modern sporting rifles in the woods? Take ‘em if you got ‘em! I choose to unify our front rather than divide our ranks with ignorant rhetoric and feinstein fascism. I suppose my position came with the commitment to uphold our Second Amendment, along with every other word in the Constitution, unlike some other folks. Of course, I also happen to believe an AR-15 is perfect for more than personal defense, it’s also great for hog and predator hunting!

That “Come and take it” perspective was born from military training and the knowledge that “we the people” rule the roost. Equally as important, it came from my proactive approach to real freedom. Whether you choose to shoot a bow, bolt action rifle, AR-15, 1911, revolver, muzzleloader or even Crosman’s ridiculously cool Benjamin Rogue .357-Caliber Air Rifle, get out there and do it! While you’re out there, thank every past and present warrior in our nation’s illustrious history for preserving your right to do so!

Hunt hard, hunt often and hunt with a modern sporting rifle like the AR-15 if that’s what turns your rotors! Just get out there!

 

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